Love Sickness in the Dialoghi D’Amore by Leone Ebreo


  • Delfina Giovannozzi European Intellectual Lexicon and History of Ideas (ILIESI-CNR), Rome, I


Philosophy of Love, Physiology of Love, Effects of Love, Human and Divine Love


 The Dialoghi d’amore by Leone Ebreo is one of the most popular texts of an extended theoretical debate concerning the nature of love during early sixteenth century. At this time, this theme is already crystallized into two contrary approaches: one, derived from the classical and medical tradition, dwells upon many negative effects of love, understood as a form of sickness interfering with the correct exercise of reason; the other one regards love as the instrument of spiritual self-realization, the nexus by which the soul is finally reunited with God, its origin and ultimate aim. Leone’s text certainly shares this second approach, but somewhere in the Dialoghi we can find a technical language derived from the medical tradition of the aegritudo amoris, undoubtedly known to Leone, who was a physician. This paper focuses on these passages, trying to show how the theme of lovesickness – although limited to a secondary rule – represents in this text a stage in the secular diffusion of a doctrine crossing so many different cultures and historic eras.